Rabbi David Stav.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
David Stav, the chairman of the national-religious Tzohar rabbinical association and municipal chief rabbi of Shoham, has spoken out in condemnation of two separate attacks on Druse youths that have occurred in the last three weeks.
Razzi Houseysa, 19, currently serving as a combat soldier in the IDF’s Golani Brigade, was badly beaten by a group of Jewish youths outside a bar on Kibbutz Yagur last Thursday night and hospitalized with wounds to his right eye and face.
On January 22, Tommy Hassoun, 21, was attacked outside the Jerusalem Central Bus Station after he too was heard speaking Arabic by a group of Jewish youths wearing yarmulkes, who beat him and broke a glass bottle over him. Hassoun was hospitalized with facial injuries.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, Stav denounced the incidents and said that they must be repudiated by Israeli leaders and general society, and that greater respect for non-Jews must be inculcated in Israeli youth.
“It’s shocking that there are people whose hatred of the other drives them so completely crazy that they can no longer distinguish between people who are partners and allies with the Jewish people and our enemies,” Stav told the Post.
The rabbi said that there had not been sufficient condemnation of the attacks because political leaders were afraid of being seen as weak and losing votes, while religious leaders were afraid they will be seen as liberal or left wing.
Stav said that part of the deeper problem was a general hostility in Israel to anyone who is not Jewish.
“One of the roots of this problem is that there is a feeling that anyone who isn’t Jewish is automatically a candidate to be an enemy of ours and hates us until he proves otherwise.
Naturally, a hostility to the other is therefore generated,” he said.
“So we need to condemn this both in general terms and over specific incidents. We need to repeatedly teach over and over again that all men were created in the image of God, we need to nurture a sense of respect for all people.
“There is a need to increase awareness that a part of our heritage as Jews is to respect all people and that part of our Jewish identity is not to nourish hatred towards others.”
Last week, Houseysa was heard speaking Arabic to his cousin in the bar at Yagur by a group of men who then became hostile and followed them out of the bar as they left. The men became violent and Houseysa was struck by a large rock injuring his right eye.
He was hospitalized at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and underwent surgery on the eye.
After the attack on him, Hassoun, who recently finished his IDF combat service, was taken by ambulance to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem, where he was treated for cuts and bruising to his head and face.
Six men were arrested in connection with that attack.